13 September 2017
By Chidiebere Ejike
The Senate, on Tuesday, described Nigeria’s aviation sector as one of the most hostile environments in the world.
Senate’s assessment of the sector came through the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, when he had audience with leaders of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, NAAPE, in his office.
This assessment came in the wake of outcry by some unemployed pilots in the country to the red chamber to bail them out of joblessness through legislations that will turn the sector around.
The NAAPE leaders, led by their President, Jacob Ogwu, had during the visit urged Na’Allah in his capacity as a critical stakeholder in the sector, to help in making the Senate and the National Assembly beam their searchlights on problems bedeviling the sector in order to provide permanent solutions.
However, Na’Allah in his response told the visiting pilots and engineers that the executive and not the Senate should be pressured to urgently do what is right for the sector to grow and be in proper shape.
A Daily Sun report quoted him as saying: “Nigeria’s aviation sector is a most hostile one to investors and other key players. The current 8th Senate within three months of its inception in 2015, debated on a motion sponsored by me on problems bedeviling the sector and came up with a 24-point far reaching resolutions for the way out but none of the resolutions has been considered by the executive for more than two years now.
“So, to us in the Senate and by extension, the National Assembly, we have done the needful by proffering solutions. It is left for the executive to implement the resolutions”.
“As we stand today, we have the most hostile aviation operating environment and you cannot develop aviation under this hostile environment. It is not possible because business people want to make profit and you know in aviation, profit is not available. So there is nothing actually to add,” he stressed
He continued, “Unless we look at these issues seriously, we can never guarantee the growth of general aviation, which will serve as a support to the airlines and thereby a robust economic stimulant for movement of people goods and services in Nigeria”.
He sympathised with the young pilots being stared in the face by joblessness as a result of limited flying experience saying, “The industry is built more on safety consideration and not brilliance exhibited by any pilot while in training. No brilliance in flying but rather, cumulative hours of flying achieved by a pilot. The more hours of flying a pilot has to his credit, the easier he gets engaged by airline owners. So my advice for all of you is to be adding to your hours of flying on daily basis through rentage of aircraft for that purpose, which is, however, expensive”.